Abstract/Details

A construction of a posteriori physicalism


2007 2007

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation aims to provide a posteriori answers to the mystery of consciousness, which can be articulated in the form of the zombie argument, which denies physicalism if there is a possible world in which a physical/functional duplicate of me that lacks qualia exists.

Physicalists have tried to resolve the mystery of consciousness in two different ways. On the one hand, a priori physicalists, such as Lewis, Armstrong, and Shoemaker maintain that conceptual analyses are best for reduction. On the other hand, many a posteriori physicalists reject simple conceptual analyses for reduction, while support functional/physical state identity.

I formulate what constitutes a posteriori physicalism in Chapter 1. It is based on a metaphysical thesis (metaphysical supervenience or stronger); it endorses the conceivability of zombies while rejecting their possibility; it utilizes the difference in modes of presentation to explain away dualistic features of consciousness.

First, I show in Chapter 2 that metaphysical supervenience is insufficient for physicalism and that we need a stronger thesis. Next, I prove in Chapter 3 that zombies are conceivable while not possible. The conceivability of zombies denies a priori physicalism and their possibility disproves dualism. In Chapter 4, I examine a related issue of whether physicalists can deal with consciousness without being committed to any positions, which means topic-neutrality.

However, a posteriori physicalism should solve perennial problems such that it is vulnerable to Multiple Realizability and that it posits a brute metaphysical identity with no positive explanation about why a neural event gives rise to pain. In Chapter 5, I formulate neurofunctionalism as a reductive theory to accommodate Multiple Realizability and provide an explanation based on the Inference to the Best Explanation.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Philosophy
Classification
0422: Philosophy
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; A posteriori; Consciousness; Neurofunctionalism; Physicalism; Qualia; Zombies
Title
A construction of a posteriori physicalism
Author
Han, Woojin
Number of pages
272
Publication year
2007
Degree date
2007
School code
0066
Source
DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549753957
Advisor
Flanagan, Owen
University/institution
Duke University
University location
United States -- North Carolina
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3324098
ProQuest document ID
304862611
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304862611
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.